Post Holiday Ramblings...


I snapped this picture of the girls as they were "helping" us decorate the tree. They have helped themselves to more decorations this year than  I care to admit. Ha!!

It's Wednesday morning, and quite honestly, I'm on a bit of  Christmas low. I'm not quite ready to say farewell to my favorite holiday. So, I'm sipping an iced latte, and thinking of how to enjoy another fun family night. Maybe pizza and a movie. I'm also planning to keep the decorations up for the rest of the week. Who knows, maybe I'll finish taking pictures of our decor!

We've had such a busy week of visiting family, eating ridiculously good food, and enjoying our fun gifts. I have to say, buying the girls Christmas gifts this year was so fun. Both Evie Grace and Ella are obsessed with Peppa the Pig. We decided to get them a Peppa Pig Dollhouse & Bus. They also got matching Peppa dolls, and the story book.

I bought Josh a hoodie, and a winter toboggan hat for Christmas. He treated me to an overnight stay and shopping trip at one of our favorite towns. I may have had more sugar in that 24 period than I've ate all year. Sugar induced coma included a dark chocolate covered sea salt caramel apple (say that three times fast), a slice of Almond Joy Cake (from a local bakery...it was to DIE for), a ginger snap latte and cherry scone from a local bakery. Surgery fun, I tell you.

We also shopped until we dropped, watched TV, and got to sleep in. It was perfect! He spoils me so.

Happy Wednesday! Hope you are enjoying more Christmas time fun. :)

We Had A Merry Little Christmas


We had a lovely Christmas. Lots of food, good times, and watching the girls get excited over all their gifts! But, best of all were the memories made with our family and friends. Those moments can't be replaced or replicated. They are the best.

Thankful for the manger scene that took place so long ago. We are all blessed, indeed!

Our Christmas Home 2016

This year, it took me two weeks to decorate the tree. Mainly because we are still unpacking. Ha! And as you can see, little hands helped re-decorate it. ;) My favorite addition were the gold glittered phrases on the tree. A crown and "Lord of All" with red berry sticks served as our topper! I love it.



I found that set of matching stockings at my neighbors yard sale. That matched my pillows perfectly. And I think they make our entertainment stand look festive!





My mom decorated a Minnie mouse tree for the girls. We left it in the dining room, and I might just love it more than they do. ;)


Merry Christmas!!

'Tis The Season!


We've finally settled into our new house, and have started on our Christmas decorating routines. I snapped a few pics of the girls yesterday, so I could get our Christmas cards ordered. The girls really enjoyed their candy cane treats. ;) I thought it turned out pretty cute. I don't do much studio work as it takes so much time for set up, but when I do, it always lends to a sweet captures Pun intended.

It's starting to really feel like Christmas as the temperatures are finally cooling down. We plan on enjoying a low key weekend before the Christmas Party round ups begin! 'Tis the season!! ;)

Goodbye Little Nest


It's been a bit quite around here lately...and for good reason! We sold our house earlier this fall, and we are finally getting ready to settle into our new home. It has been quite the process, and if I'm being honest, a whirlwind of emotions.

This little place where we have called home all seven years of marriage, while small, still holds a lot of precious memories. We turned Josh's bachelor pad into our first home. And brought our babies home here. Some my favorite memories...

The first day as I settled into my role as a housewife. I remember cleaning, unpacking our wedding gifts, and preparing my first meal. It wasn't fancy, just baked potato soup and beer bread from Tastefully Simple. ;)

The first big argument we had. Over what?  I honestly don't remember. But, we argued on the back porch. That, I do remember. Hee hee.

The first time I saw two pink lines...in our master bathroom. When we painted her room and decorated her nursery. It became my favorite spot to snuggle our tiny Evie Grace.

The second time I saw two pink lines...in our master bathroom. When we tirelessly prepared another nursery for Ella baby. A lot of love and dreams were poured into her little room.

The hours we spent around the fireplace drinking coffee, watching Friends, and playing scrabble. The Christmas parties, and countless dinner parties. The giant porch that was added on, and the tin roof where we listened to the rain fall at night. The family gatherings, and coffee dates with friends.

Wonderful, good memories. Thankful for each one, and the many blessings He has given us.

10 Months


Sister you are 10 months old. Where has the time gone? I find myself saying that all the time. I blink, and weeks have passed, another milestone has been marked. You are a constant source of joy, and bring many smiles to our home. I'm so blessed to watch you grow and become your own little person. God knew we needed our Ella baby.

Love you, little toot.

My Strawberry Girls


On Monday night, I dressed the girls up in matching Strawberry costumes. Evie LOVED her outfit, and I about died from the cuteness overload.

I took them on a wagon ride before daddy got home. Then we headed out for an evening of candy hunting, and fun. Let's just say Evie was less than thrilled, but Ella was content to people watch.

I love watching their little personalities shine through different activities. It was exhausting... but well worth it for the memories. ;)

Share Your Blessings And Enter GIVEAWAY!



I love November. It's the tail end of fall, yet there are still vibrant colors everywhere. It is also the month of giving thanks, and counting our blessings. For me, it's important to pause the every day hustle and bustle to carve a heart of thanksgiving for all that God is doing in our life. Doing so gives me a renewed perspective on the upcoming new year.

While reading "One Big Turkey" to Evie Grace, courtesy of Tommy Nelson Mommies, I realized that while my girls may be young, now is the time to start instilling a heart of gratitude. I loved how the rhythmic story line not only teaches counting skills, but they gently intertwined a theme of thanksgiving. It was perfectly suited for toddler ages, and even early elementary ages.

Giveaway Winner is Billie Joe!! If you haven't read her blog before, check it out, it's one of my favorites. She inspires me as a wife and mother. <3

The beautiful illustrations and vibrant colors helped keep my little one's attention. Always a big plus in my book! ;)

If you would like to win a copy, leave a comment sharing what YOU are thankful for this year! 

Giveaway closes THIS Friday, Nov. 4th at 2pm. Void where prohibited. Open to US readers only.

Autumn



“He found himself wondering at times, especially in the autumn, about the wild lands, and strange visions of mountains that he had never seen came into his dream" J.R.R. Tolkien

Happy Homemaker Monday Vol. 23


We had such a busy, but fun weekend. We visited the pumpkin patch with friends, went on a hayride (cough, sneeze, cough..whooo, it was fun though!). We visited with family, and celebrated my brother's birthday. 

The weather...
It's October which means crisp blue skies, gentle breezes, a whisp of cool air mixed with the heat of the sun. While our summers are exhausting, and harsh, the fall makes up for it here. It's beautiful.

Right now I am...

Just finishing up my breakfast of iced coffee, and a muffin in a mug. The girls are watching Super Why.


Thinking... 
About a meeting tonight, how I want to decorate the back porch with fall items, and about a handful of books that I'd like to buy. I'm also thinking it's time for a hiking/photography excursion. My brain is all over the place this morning. ;)

On my TV...

Fixer Upper (Re-Runs)

Last Man Standing (with Josh)

What I'm Reading... 

For the Children's Sake by Susan Schaeffer McCauley

On the menu for this week...

Mac & Cheese 
Chicken, Green Beans & Sweet Potato Bake
Pork Chops & Rice Casserole
Crockpot Taco Chicken

On my to do list...
Clean Kitchen

Put Away Laundry
Update Web Site
Update Daily Planner & Coordinating Calendars
Tot School with Evie

Looking Forward To...

Family time. Chili Dinner with friends this weekend. Watching a movie or two just for fun.

Not So Wordless Wednesday || iphone edition


We went apple picking last Friday. It was very hot, but worth every minute in the blazing sun. The sky was beautiful, the girls got to enjoy a wagon ride with daddy, and we picked some delicious apples. We made apple crisp, and applesauce in the crockpot over the next two days.


This week, we've been busy little bees. On Monday, I did my first real "tot" schooling with Evie. I decided to forgo preschool this year. It's popular in our area for kids to start around 2 1/2, but I didn't feel that the timing was right. Instead, I'm focusing on one formal lesson each week with Evie. We studied fish! She loved the one on one time. Needless to say, it IS making excited for when she is ready for preschool! I'm already planning away for next week's lesson! The nerdy side of me is very excited.


Ella is crawling now. She's into everything! And she is very feisty. She has curls galore that frame her little face. I'll have to share her pictures I took from last month. I also need to take her pictures for this month! Slow down life...your making me a little crazy. ;)

Life is good. It's not what I thought I wanted, nor is it where I thought I wanted to be, but it is all good. It's beautiful, and challenging, and filled with God's grace. I'm where God wants me, and I've learned to make peace with that.

Happy Wednesday!

Fall Around My Home


Our home is finally decorated for fall! I started with the mantel in August, then put the rest up this month. It's not perfect, but it is very cozy. At least to me. :)


I added the candle, and the old window to my fall decor this year. The banner came from the $1 spot at Target (last year), and the candle is actually from Dollar General of all places. It's Apple Currant, and it's smells heavenly. The pumpkins were a gift from my mother in law years ago.


I had to pick up this pumpkin from Hobby Lobby the other day. I loved the old truck! Has a vintage, down earth feel to it.



My entry table. Sorry for the wonky angle, but the lighting was too weird otherwise. I love my cinderella carriage pumpkin. Disney & pumpkins just seem to go hand in hand. Ha! It's the kid in me, for real. ;) And it's 40% off right now at good 'ol Hobby Lobby. It's like they know how to win over our hearts with the cutest fall stuff!

Happy Thursday!

Two Girls & Their Giant Rubber Ducky


The weather was really nice over Labor Day Weekend, so I thought it would be fun to take a few pics of the girls playing with their giant rubber ducky. I realize I'm late posting this, but better late than never, right? ;)


I thought Ella would have loved the bubbles, but she was NOT impressed. She just wanted to eat the soapy water, and chew on the rubber ducky. Evie Grace, however, was all about the bubbles. Life with two, it's always fun!


The girls are getting so big. We've been busy at home, just soaking up life with our little family. Happy Tuesday!

What I'm Into August Edition



Books & More Books:
This was a slower month for me regarding books but I still found a few titles that were fun to read. One of the sweetest novels I read was My Mrs.Brown. The synopsis is that Mrs. Brown lives a simple life. She's faithful to the small things, and keeps a tidy check book. Her charcter is very plain, and under-embellished. But, it's her character traits, and willingness to keep her head high despite the gossip that draws you into her story. She sets out on a journey to buy a black dress...not any black dress, her black dress. But, the reasons, the pricetag, the location...it's all a bit curious. 

I also read Together at the Table (third in the Blue Door Trilogy), which was really good, but sad at the same time. A full review to come soon! And last, but not least, I read Larkspur Cove by Lisa Wingate. If you enjoy clean romance and mystery, I would highly recommend it.

TV & Movies:
We finished watching all the available shows for The Flash, and now we need something new. Any suggestions? I watched the second episode of The Good Witch, and it's pretty cute. I love me some cheesy Hallmark! We also rented My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 from RedBox, and it was a fun movie. Not quite as funny as the first, but fun none the less. ;)

Pinning Away:
Fall!! I love all things fall, and I've been busy pinning away fall decor ideas, fall recipes, and maybe even a few Christmas tradition ideas. 

Coffee & Tea:
The other day, I had a taste for Chai Tea. My favorite brand is not available in our community, so Josh found another substitute a while back. I had forgotten that I still had some. So, I added extra cinnamon, ginger, and a dash of cloves for an added spice kick. It was so good.

My favorite thing about morning time is my cup of coffee. Random fact: I drink it iced 90% of the time. I enjoy cream, a drop of pure vanilla & a dash of cinnamon, no sugar. Delicious!

What about you? What are you into? I'd love to hear!! Linking up with What I'm Into at Leigh's blog.

PS. Be sure to join me on GoodReads! I love meeting other bookworms and finding new titles to read!! :)

Favorite Dinners: Crockpot Taco Meat


I posted that I had made Crockpot Tacos the other night on Instagram, and several folks asked for the recipe. So, here it is! It is super duper easy...I'm not even sure you could call it a "real" recipe, haha!

3/4 Cup of Chunky Salsa
1/4 Cup Restaurant Style Salsa
1 Packet Low Sodium Taco Seasoning
8-10 Frozen Chicken Tenderloins

Place chicken in crockpot, then add salsa & seasonings. Let it cook for 6 hours on low. An hour before serving, you should be able to shred the meat using a large spatula. We topped ours with Verde sauce, and sour cream. Serves 6.

Weekend Wrap Up || squared edition


We kicked the weekend off with a couples get together on Friday night. We all have young kids, and it's usually spent chasing said kids around, but it's tons of fun none the less. Also, look how big my girls are now!! Ella thinks she totally a toddler now, and Evie of course thinks she's a grown up. Haha! Don't let those innocent faces fool you, they are a MESS. But, I sure do love them. ;)


On Saturday morning, we ate breakfast and headed out for coffee, yard sales, and to visit with Josh's family. The first sale I stopped at had girls just older than mine, so I ended up walking away with pretty much an entire fall wardrobe for $20 for BOTH girls. That included a coat for Ella that still had tags on it it, hoodies, sweaters, dresses, holiday outfits, leggings, and cute fall-ish themed shirts. All in nearly new condition. I was ridiculously happy.



On Sundy, we spent the afternoon outside. Ella discovered grass for the girst time! Evie played in the water the entire time. We also did a quick craft, and then watched tv before the girls had to go to bed. I was a really nice weekend. Now, I'm ready for Monday, and the rest of the week! :)

An Overnight Getaway


We were heading out of town for a wedding, so Josh decided to make an overnight trip out of it. We stayed at the Arlington Hotel. It's very old, and quaint, and I loved the antiques sprinkled throughout the hotel lobby. It had a very regal feel to it!


The room had a beautiful view, and I didn't want to leave the comfy bed. I may have binged watched "The Bush People of Alaska" for hours. I'd never watched the show, and found it fascinating, if not, a bit different, too. Ha!


We enjoyed dinner in the dining room that included Crab Legs!! My favorite! We also walked around town, enjoyed room service (I forgot to take a picture...but I had Salted Caramel Apple Pie...SO GOOD!!). We also tried tons of other food: chocolate & caramel apple treats at a little candy shop across the street from the hotel, pancakes for breakfast at one of our favorite places, and warm mocha's made from Belgium chocolate. I may have been on a sugar high for the rest of the weekend! And with that, I'll leave you with a picture of the ridiculously good caramel apples we feasted on... ;)


TGIF! Friday Favorites


{One}
I love that I found this super cute fall plaque at the Dollar Tree. I think I may need to get my nerve up to share all my favorite dollar tree finds. They have the cutest holiday items. Anyway, I hung this on our doorway for now, but I will probably make a wreat out of it this weekend. Ha!


{Two}
I am loving these placemats that I found at Target. They were colorful, and at a great price. I bought two to use for dinners for just Josh, and I, but I think I should buy more to set the table with. I thought the color scheme was festive enough to use for both summer and fall! Plus, they match my Fiesta dinner plates! Also, I'll have to share a recipe of that Chicken & Wild Rice soup, soon.


{Three}
If you know me in real life, I am a purse girl! It's one of the few things in life that I will splurge and not bat an eye (normally, I'm frugal fred mertz, ha!). Anyway, I saw this red bag at TJ Maxx, and it had been marked down from $100 to $30. So, I guess in the long run, I was still pretty frugal, but scored a sweet bag! Red is my go to color for everything. Also, those books you see? Larkspur Cove was AMAZING, and My Mrs. Brown was a really sweet read. Check 'em out if you are looking for something fun to read! ;)


{Four}
When I'm out and about running errands, I love to get me a good 'ol dose of Starbucks. But, when the temps were 100+ I was leaning towards Ice Cream. However, my need for coffee wore out. I ended up ordering a Coffee Frappuccino with whip. I forgot how good those are! I love that it's super creamy, but you still get a strong coffee flavor. I love when an oldie become a goody. He he. ;)



{Five}
These girls...those dresses. Two Jelly The Pugs scored at a consginment sale by Grandmother. It's just the cutest thing when their outfits coordinate or match. I've turned into one of those moms. Hee hee! And I make zero apologies for it. They are only little once. 

Ok, that wraps it up for today. Happy Friday!! Linking up with Friday Favorites today. :)

Favorite Dinners: Ultimate Black Bean Nachos


A few weeks ago, I was talking with someone and they asked me what some of my "go to" dinners were. When one of my responses was Black Bean Nachos, they gave me a funny look. "Black Beans?

Yep!!! We make these at least once a week, sometimes even twice a week. They are super yummy, can be customized to your tastebuds, and seriously, it is SO easy to make. Here's my recipe:

Ultimate Black Bean Nachos

2 Cans Black Beans (drained)
1 Can Rotel 
1 Packet Taco Seasoning
Tortilla Chips

Bring first three ingredients to a low boil, then simmer for 5-10 minutes. Immediately serve on a bed of tortilla chips, then top with your favorite items. We love cheese, salsa, cilantro, sour cream, and guacamole! 

Happy Homemaker Monday Vol. 22



The weather...
Pouring rain! I am so thankful for the cooler temps. It's in the 70's. Perfect weather for me. I took Evie outside over the weekend to jump in puddles, and play with her froggie umbrella. She had a blast!

Right now I am...

Drinking Ginger Water, and blogging. 

Thinking... 

About things I need to do around the house. Potty training. Etc. ;)

On my TV...

The Flash

What I'm Reading... 

So Long Insecurity by Beth Moore

On the menu for this week...

Crock Pot Taco Soup

Chicken & Green Beans
Chicken Cheddar & Broccoli Rice
Breakfast for Dinner

On my to do list...

Pick Up Living Room

Fold Laundry
Wipe Down Countertops

Link
ing Up with Diary of A Stay at Home Mom!

Random Musings


Yesterday was perfect. I had a whole day to myself to cean, and re-organize my house. It may seem silly, but honestly ya'll, when I feel myself depleated both physically, and emotionally, a good old-fashioned house cleaning does the trick.

I cleaned the girls rooms. I went through their clothes, and all our baby items. I caught up on laundry. I made lunches for my husband for the rest of the week. I cleaned our bedroom, and scrubbed the kitchen. I straightened up the bathrooms, and put away toys.

I feel like a new person when my house gets a deep cleaning.

I'm nerdy like that.

Also, I am *so* ready for the upcoming weekend. Josh is taking a three day weekend, so we plan to enjoy a little staycation, and hopefully, catch up on some sleep! I'm also excited to start decorating for fall. Maybe we will bake a pumkin treat, and watch some movies. My favorite movie to kick off fall is You've Got Mail. I also love the Charlie Brown movies of course!

Happy Tuesday!

The Importance of Goal Setting + More Personality Talk


For years, I've struggled with why I sometimes thrive with structure and routine, and while at other times it seems that it is the very thing that leads to burnout. Since taking the time to learn more about my personality (ENFP/Type 9), I've found out something fairly shocking:

I am not an organized person by nature. But, I thrive on goals.

This would make my husband shake his head at me (I'm often told I'm too organized or too structured, etc.). It sounds like a complete oxymoron, right?

Yet, upon exploring more about what makes me tick as an ENFP, I've learned two things: a) I can be a bit scattered and b) I can easily be organized. 

Case in point: If I tell myself I need to clean out the closet, but don't set goals for it, it won't get done. It's a bit humbling, to say the least. On the other hand, if I tell myself that I need to clean out the closet and write a quick list of goals to help me carry out that task, I will have it done within a few hours.

Needless to say, creating goals, routines, and using a daily planner has changed my life. It helps to stay organized, which leads to thriving with my day to day life.

For me personally, I need a few simple boundaries: The morning hours are blocked off for work. Afternoon hours are blocked off for house cleaning. The kids nap time is for "me" time. I use a daily planner to remind myself of appointments, deadlines, etc. I also focus on 3-4 daily goals. By keeping my goals to a bare minimum, I'm less tempted to get carried away or overwhelmed. It also allows me to give 100% to whatever I'm focusing on. 

According to Small Biz Trends"Set achievable goals, over small periods of time." Their argument was that it will help you stay motivated. I tend to agree.

Sometimes-- less really is more. 

What about you? How do you set goals? Do you find that goals and routines help you stay motivated? 

Teaching Our Children About The Lord + Giveaway!!



One of the most humbling things about being a parent is the simple fact that God chose us to be parents to the specific children God gives us. Not only that, but it's our responsibility to teach our children about the Lord! 

As parents, we are often given many tools to plant seeds-- Whether it's through church attendance, books that we read, music that we listen to, personal prayer life, etc. For me, I've found that reading books about Bible stories has been one of the most effective ways for teaching little ones. When we fostered a little boy, I remember reading to him from a set of Bible stories that were for a child's perspective. He listened to them intently, and wanted to learn more.

It was mind-blowing to seem someone so young soaking up Biblical stories like a sponge. 

So, when I saw that the 5-Minute Nighttime Bible Stories was available for review this month via Tommy Nelson, I readily jumped at the chance to add this gem to my ever-growing collection of children's books. 

This hard bound book features beautifully illustrated stories, with colorful artwork, and 5-minute versions of stories found throughout the Bible. The stories also have follow-up questions or statements that offer a perfect outlet to talk more in-depth with your children. I love that it spans a wide age gap--It's perfect for young toddlers to older elementary aged children!

Congrats to Ashley Murray!

Want to win a copy of your own? Here's a couple of ways to enter:

Leave a comment letting me know what books you have added to your personal library!

For a bonus entry, simply follow me on Instagram or Facebook and leave a comment there letting me know you have done so.



Void where prohibited. Open to US readers only.